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Cool Box

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Words and pictures by Hans Finsterbusch

For as long as I can remember, my family has always been keen on the outdoors. But I was born in Germany in 1941, and we grew up during and after the war; there was no money, and nothing was available for camping. But we dreamed about it.

As youngsters, my brother and I started ‘camping’ with a small hired tent and bicycles. Later, we bought a secondhand VW Beetle and a new big tent. We had a great time visiting many magic places in Europe.

One day, we found a poster from Westphalia Campers, advertising a ‘VW split-screen camper bus’, and the image was of a sunset in a safari camp in Africa. This became our dream. In 1966, my brother and I immigrated to South Africa, and in 1968 we bought a brand new VW ‘Clipper’ bus for R2 350. Clipper was the name, then, of the more luxurious VW bus.

We managed to import from the Westphalia company, (which, in Germany, builds conversions and campervans for VW) a pair of complicated hinges and the curtains for our bus. We then built the bed/bench, a wardrobe, a kitchen cupboard with a gas fridge on top, a single seat and a fold-down table.

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